Tell State Lawmakers: Cancel the Elliot State Forest Sale

December 6, 2016

By Mike Allen

In one week the State Land Board will vote on whether to sell the oldest state forest in Oregon. The Elliott State Forest near Coos bay is home to several threatened or endangered species including Coho salmon, Pacific lamprey, spotted owl, and the vanishing marbeled murrelet. The murrelet nests high in large trees, and its decline is associated with old forest logging.

The State of Oregon has been frittering away the Elliott for years, selling pieces of it off to timber interests who have gone on to cut off public access and log some massive old trees. Just ten years ago it was 10,000 acres larger. Last year the Land Board decided to put the remaining 83,000 acres up for sale. The asking price of $220.8 million drew exactly one bid.

marbled-murrelet

The Terms of the Elliott Sale Shortchange Oregonian’s Future

Although the deal requires that the purchaser set aside 25% of the land for conservation, it does not specify which part of the land must be set aside. Nearly half of the Elliott is forest nearly 150 years old, with many older trees mixed in. Older trees, which are more economically valuable, could be harvested and younger stands allowed to age.

Only 50% of the land is required to be kept open to the public, and access could involve fees and other restrictions.

The harvest would only be required to produce forty new jobs over the next ten years.

Oregon Could do Better with the Elliott

Meanwhile, if no further harvests were to occur in the Elliott, it would be capable of storing about two thirds of the total carbon output of the state of Oregon, according to a 2010 analysis by ecotrust. This is just one of the many benefits with indirect but real economic impact that isn’t fully appreciated by the state’s analysis.

The Elliott is rugged terrain, with limited access. It has no trails and no official campgrounds. But for the intrepid and adventurous it holds big rewards: massive old growth trees, pristine creeks teaming with fish, deer and elk and the rarest of Western Oregon species. This is our last chance: if the Elliott is sold we will never get it back, and it will never be the same. Call Governor Brown, Secretary Atkins, and Treasurer Wheeler and tell them to save the save the Elliot, a priceless resource for all Oregonians.

Take Action to Save the Elliot State Forest:

Gov. Kate Brown – (503) 378-4582
Ted Wheeler – (503) 378-4329
Jeanne Atkins – (503) 986-1523

The Sierra Club Oregon Chapter will participate in a rally at the Keizer Civic Center at 9 am on December 13th to let lawmakers know how Oregonians feel about losing their wilderness heritage to private interests.  Details HERE!

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Rally for the Elliott State Forest

December 2, 2016

This is it! The Oregon Department of State Lands has received a bid that would see the Elliott State Forest sold to a private timber company and heavily logged. Our elected leaders, including Governor Kate Brown, Treasurer Ted Wheeler, and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins have the opportunity to stop the privatization process and Save the Elliott.

Join public lands advocates from across Oregon for a rally before the State Land Board Meeting where our leaders could decide protect this public treasure. Plan to stick around and attend the meeting – sign up to testify to make sure your voice is heard!

CARPOOL INFORMATION:

From Eugene you can meet the Many Rivers Group at 7:45 near the bike bridge behind the Valley River Center (293 Valley River Center).

From Portland you can meet at 7:45 at Holladay City Park (NE 11th Ave).

If you’d like to carpool from Coos Bay area please add yourself to this rideshare board: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/6ua89y, or email savetheelliott@gmail.com.

More carpool info coming soon.

Wear green. Bring banners and signs. Save the Elliott!

rally


Rally for wild salmon!

November 29, 2016

free-the-snake

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River. But we need your help.

Please RSVP to attend rallies and public meetings in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria! Details below.

For nearly 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon — and directed them to specifically consider dam removal.

Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin. Come out to a rally and public meeting in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria.salmon

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.

Rallies for Wild Salmon

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WHAT:   The Dalles Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:     Tuesday, December 6, 2016 staring at 4 pm
WHERE:  Columbia Gorge Discovery Ctr., Downstairs Classroom
5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058
(Use “West Side” door, follow signs for “Service Entrance”)
MAP:        https://goo.gl/maps/reimivTB6572
WHAT:     Salmon Reception and Speakers – Meet old and new friends. Socialize with river people.  Hear from scientists, advocates and the Native perspective.
4:00PM – Sunset welcome ceremony overlooking the Columbia River
5:00PM – Speakers & new short video by Nimiipuu – Protecting the Environment
6:00PM – Columbia River salmon and other light fare
7:30PM – Depart for pub after-meeting. Location TBD
Feds’ public meeting will be upstairs. Open until 7 pm.

WHAT:     Portland Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 starting at 4 pm
WHERE:  The Mezzanine in Spirit of 77
(directly across the street from the Convention Center)
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97232
MAP:         https://goo.gl/maps/NwAqpg6hKc42
WHAT:     We’ll gather for a rally and speakers at 4 pm, then go together to the feds’ Public Meeting across the street. Afterward, we’ll return to the Spirit of 77 to celebrate!

WHAT:    Astoria Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN: Thursday, December 8 – Public Hearings: 4-7 pm. Salmon advocates will gather beforehand at 3:30 pm
WHERE: The Loft at the Red Building, 20 Basin St., Astoria, OR.  Salmon advocates will gather at the Bridgewater Bistro in the Red Building, 20 Basin St., Astoria, OR
WHY: To meet up with fellow salmon and river advocates and show strong support for healthy rivers and salmon. Members of the public concerned about wild salmon restoration are encouraged to attend. Please share with your friends and family and encourage others to come. Just like wild salmon – more is better!


On Replanting

November 17, 2016

Imagine that you were told by your neighbor that he was going to tear down your house, rip out your plumbing, (and spray you with a blend of chemicals (something we won’t get into here). In response to your protests, he just calmly told you not to worry: “Oregon law requires that I rebuild it.”

There is plenty to criticize about how private and state-owned forests are managed in Oregon. Among the common ways that people defend our weak logging rules is by pointing out that we “replant”—that replanting recently clearcut areas is mandatory by law and so clearcuts aren’t actually damaging our forest landscape.

This is an amazing suggestions. Yes, to some people, businesses, and hedge fund managers, forests are only a crop. Something to be grown, chopped down, and replanted. But that is missing most of what forests actually provide: water & air filtration, fish & wildlife habitat, places to play and find peace, and physical structures that keep our slopes intact and prevent flooding and drought. When we clearcut a forest parcel, we lose or significantly damage all of these functions for many many years.

A clearcut and replanted forest parcel releases CO2 for at least the first 15 years. It does not help to slow climate change. The notion that CO2 is stored in wood products forever is highly dubious. Studies indicate that a large portion (most?) of CO2 is released from the wood during logging, milling, and processing. So, replanting does not help with the climate.

Fish & wildlife rely on forests for innumerable habitat qualities. Many of these qualities are instantly lost during clearcutting and others—water quality and temperature—can be compromised in the short and long-term. This is analogous to a person having their home demolished and their plumbing ripped out. Yes, a refugee may be taken in by his/her family or might find another temporary home, but we can all very easily imagine the problems this creates. Can you imagine dealing with this scenario for 40+ years while your home is rebuilt? Even FEMA does better than that!

When a hillside is clearcut, it can take a handful of years before root structures decompose. However, once that decomposition takes place, it becomes appartent that clearcutting has adverse affects on slope stability. Clearcuts can increase the likelihood of landslides—bad for water quality, bad for roads, and bad for human safety. Again, it may take 40 years to rebuild those stabilizing root systems which keep our hillsides intact.

bs_slide_atcreek_wdog

Perhaps most importantly, replanting in the style of industrial logging lands is not an effort to restore forests. It is an agricultural practice whereby monoculture plantations of densely packed doug fir dominate the landscape. This may be prudent for short-term financial gain, but it does not provide the types of resilient, diverse, healthy forests that we need.

Replanting may be better than not replanting. But let’s not kid ourselves by pretending that we can destroy our forests at any rate we so choose so long as we follow Oregon’s replanting law. Anyone who tries to defend Oregon’s forest laws by relying on the fact that we replant, is being deceived or deceitful.

cannon-beach-clearcuts


UPDATE #3 Portland Moving Forward Against New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

November 16, 2016

teds-imageSometimes it takes a long time for things to happen quickly — in this case, good things.  Portland City Council is finally poised to approve unprecedented zoning restrictions on new fossil fuel infrastructure (FFI) for export or storage, before year’s end.  This process began in 2015, culminating last November with a pair of unprecedented binding policy resolutions, opposing both crude by rail and new FFI.  Over the past year, the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, the Planning & Sustainability Commission, and now the Council itself have worked to craft zoning ordinances to implement the resolutions.

 

At this writing, the likely results (scheduled for a final vote in early December) look pretty good — in no small part because of energetic leadership from a grassroots movement and broad environmental coalition.  Stay tuned!

— Ted Gleichman, Policy Advisor, Beyond Gas & Oil Team


Restore Wild Salmon – Remove the Lower Snake River Dams!

November 15, 2016

free-the-snake

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake Rivers, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River. But we need your help.

Please attend rallies and public meetings in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria! Details below.

For nearly 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon — and directed them to specifically consider dam removal.

Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin. Come out to a rally and public meeting in The Dalles, Portland, and Astoria.salmon

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.

Rallies for Wild Salmon

WHAT:   The Dalles Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:     Tuesday, December 6, 2016 staring at 4 pm
WHERE:  Columbia Gorge Discovery Ctr., Downstairs Classroom
5000 Discovery Drive
The Dalles, OR 97058
(Use “West Side” door, follow signs for “Service Entrance”)
MAP:        https://goo.gl/maps/reimivTB6572
WHAT:     Salmon Reception and Speakers – Meet old and new friends. Socialize with river people.  Hear from scientists, advocates and the Native perspective.
4:00PM – Sunset welcome ceremony overlooking the Columbia River
5:00PM – Speakers & new short video by Nimiipuu – Protecting the Environment
6:00PM – Columbia River salmon and other light fare
7:30PM – Depart for pub after-meeting. Location TBD
Feds’ public meeting will be upstairs. Open until 7 pm.

WHAT:     Portland Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:    Wednesday, December 7, 2016 starting at 4 pm
WHERE:  The Mezzanine in Spirit of 77
(directly across the street from the Convention Center)
500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Portland, OR 97232
MAP:         https://goo.gl/maps/NwAqpg6hKc42
WHAT:     We’ll gather for a rally and speakers at 4 pm, then go together to the feds’ Public Meeting across the street. Afterward, we’ll return to the Spirit of 77 to celebrate!

WHAT:    Astoria Rally for Wild Salmon and to “Free the Snake!”
WHEN:    Thursday, December 8, 2016; details forthcoming!
WHERE:    TBD
WHAT:     TBD


Union Pacific Rail Double Track Project through Mosier, OR Denied

November 14, 2016

At their Nov 10th meeting Wasco County Board of Commissioners voted 3 – 0 to finalize their Nov, 3rd decision to deny the permit for Union Pacific’s proposed rail expansion. To read more about the decision

http://gorgenewscenter.com/wasco-county-commissioners-complete-their-denial-of-union-pacific-plan-for-second-main-line-track-at-mosier/

Highlights from the Nov 3rd Wasco Board of Commissioners meeting:

Gary Kahn, an attorney representing Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Columbia Riverkeeper and Physicians for Social Responsibility presented the case that the project would violate the National Scenic Area Land Use Development Ordinance in many ways.

The testimony from the Tribal Nations was powerful and moving. Austin Greene, Warm Springs Tribal Chairman, drove from Warm Springs in order to testify. The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation was represented by attorney Amber Penn-Roco, who spoked to the Yakama Nation opposition to this project and that it violated tribal treaty rights. She also read a letter from the tribal elders. Testimony was given from Lana Jack of Celilo Village, of the Wyam people. She spoke of the daily challenges and dangers her people face in crossing the railroad tracks.

beyond-gas

Source: KGW-TV screenshot

During the process, Wasco County Planning Director Angie Brewer reminded county officials of their duty to deny the permit unless they could reach a determination that tribal treaty rights were not impacted, citing the National Scenic Area Land Use Development Ordinance. In the end, The Wasco County Board of Commissioners stood up to the Union Pacific Railroad, and voted unanimously to oppose the project. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

In all likelihood, Union Pacific is going to appeal this decision to the Columbia River Gorge Commission.

Contact Gregory Monahan, Chair of the Beyond Gas and Oil Team, if you would like more information or if you would like to volunteer at gregory.monahan@oregon.sierraclub.org